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UPDATE 1 - Telenor gets EOI for mobile ops in Bulgaria, Montenegro, Serbia

UPDATE 1 - Telenor gets EOI for mobile ops in Bulgaria, Montenegro, Serbia Telenor Bulgaria/Facebook

SOFIA (Bulgaria), January 26 (SeeNews) - Norwegian telecommunications group Telenor said on Friday it has received inbound and unsolicited interest for its Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) portfolio which comprises mobile operations in Bulgaria, Montenegro, Serbia and Hungary.

"With a view of creating shareholder value, Telenor has engaged in a process to evaluate the interest received. Telenor expects to conduct these assessments in the first quarter of 2018," Telenor said in a statement, adding that the assessment will not impact company's operations, customers or employees.

Telenor's CEE companies contributed in 2017 with approximately 9% of Telenor Group's revenues and approximately 8 % of EBITDA before other items, the company added.

Telenor will not issue any further statements or comments to the above until the review has been concluded.

Last week, Sofia-based media reported that Telenor is holding talks with a U.S. fund for the sale of its business in Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro for 2.0 billion euro ($2.45 billion).

Telenor bought Bulgarian mobile operator Globul from Greece's OTE for 717 million euro in 2013. In November 2014, Globul was rebranded to Telenor Bulgaria.

In the first nine months of 2017, Telenor Bulgaria's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) edged down 0.2% year-on-year to 903 million Norwegian crowns.

On the Bulgarian mobile segment, Telenor competes with Mtel, the local unit of Telekom Austria, and Bulgarian telecommunications group BTC, which operates under the brand name Vivacom.

In Serbia and Montenegro, Telenor's combined EBITDA rose slightly to 1.1 billion Norwegian crowns in the first nine months of 2017, from 1.09 billion Norwegian crowns in the like period of 2016.

Telenor's main competitor in Montenegro is T-Mobile Crna Gora, owned by the Hungarian unit of Deutsche Telekom, Magyar Telekom. M:tel, the third mobile operator in the Adriatic state of some 630,000 people, is majority owned by Telekom Srbija.

In Serbia, Telenor's wireless unit competes with Telekom Srbija's mobile arm, MTS, and VIP Mobile, a unit of Telekom Austria Group.

($= 0.8045 euro)